Annihilate This Week 3/15/21: “Elevated ideals meant to accompany your resort to violence.”

ANNIHILATE THIS WEEK hits every Monday (or nearby) mentioning important new releases whilst grouping short reviews for albums, EPs and demos selected from the current week’s best. These albums were overlooked for a more detailed review for any number of reasons, I’m either low on time or the music itself doesn’t warrant depth of inquiry or require too-serious engagement. I do my best to cover as much of everything I receive in some form regardless of genre or representation so don’t hesitate to send anything and everything my way:

The eleventh week of 2021 is highlighted by plenty of epic heavy metal, high-brained experimentation, exemplar fusion, and generally high quality songwriting that avoids too-deeply dry modern metal cliché. If you’re not into the selection this week, relax! This’ll be back every 7 days with five more new releases from different styles, genres, etc.

The Album of the Week for my own taste is unquestionably Midnight Odyssey‘s ‘Biolume Part 2 – The Golden Orb‘ [Review], an album I couldn’t help but splurge through nearly three thousands words of rambling in appreciation of. What’d interested me with such a gusto-filled reaction was this epic heavy/doom metal structure that largely sets aside his atmospheric black metal stylistic core, creating a Titan-sized lumbering beast of a record. Likewise impressive, the debut full-length from French epic heavy metal band Herzel, ‘Le Dernier Rempart‘ [Review], has been a brilliant revelation of melodic metal with some unique Celtic accents, allowing a bit of tasteful prog to color their inspired work. Mare Cognitum‘s latest ‘Solar Paroxysm’ is no less grand, a flood of ten minute atmospheric black metal songs that unveil themselves of distance allowing the songwriter to really shine through. Olde‘s ‘Pilgrimage’ offers an evolved stoner/doom influenced sludge metal album presented with appreciable detail. Armenian upstarts Ildaruni and their debut ‘Beyond Unseen Gateways’ offers a folkish melodic black/death metal album with shades of Greek black metal influence. Lunar Shadow break free of fantasy metal’s emotional barriers with ‘Wish to Leave’ [Review] a very personal heavy metal record with plenty of modern post-punk/heavy rock influences in hand. Kankar‘s ‘Dunkel Millennia’ presents a surprisingly effective and professional debut from the German black metal band which, so far has proven difficult to properly put into words. Experimental/progressive death metal duo Turris Eburnea arrive beyond the doldrums of COVID-19 to present their debut EP ‘Turris Eburnea’ [Review], an all-in sort of record that aims to mystify and impress at once. Reviews for each of these should either be up as indicated, or publishing this week. Needless to say, a fantastic week even if I have likely missed a release or two.

Beyond the six records I’ll shortly review, these were notable this week: AdamantisFar Flung Realm‘ an album I’d wanted to write about but just don’t seem to have the right personal references for their brand of power metal. Crooked Mouth & Headstone Brigade‘s ‘Crooked Headstone‘ a collaborative album from two notable Pacific Northwest neofolk artists that is impressive yet still somewhat beyond my own scope of reference. I’d not normally shy from a challenge yet there is so much to cover and I’ve not yet found guest reviewers who’ve developed authoritative voice enough to tackle these sort of deeper niches. Check out a more complete list of this week’s releases beyond the main reviews.

Thank you! I am eternally grateful for the support of readers and appreciate friendly and positive interactions. Think my opinions are trash and that I suck? Want to totally tell me off, bro? Click away and let’s all live more sensible lives full of meaningful interactions. Onto the reviews:

TITLE:The Fire Above
RELEASE DATE:March 19th, 2021
LABEL(S):Electric Valley Records

Kinda figured I was in for a hike through a few sleepy stoner doom metal highs as ‘The Fire Above’ kicked off. The psychedelic slow-climbing fuzz riffs that’d built up for roughly half of opener “Heal” were entirely satisfying until the vocals kicked in, skating around expectations at just the right time. From there the dude basically keeps shouting “Marijuana!” for the rest of the song’s seven minutes; At first it feels like devotional praise ’til the tone of the shouting becomes existentially questioning, pained, exclamatory, violent, as if the bong’d landed on his foot as a sort of supervillain origin story. This raw sludge throated vocal is kinda brutal to start but probably the right angered touch these guys need to break through the haze inherent to this sort of doom. Instead of going full on Sleep I’d say Amammoth lean a bit towards the Obsessed school of riff with plenty of shouty mid-90’s sludge deep cut pain keeping it all unsettled and surreal. Amammoth are a trio hailing from Sydney, Australia and I’d say that checks out in terms of their sound holding up to the twisted, kinda retro evolution of stoner metal forms down under this last decade. The way “Rise” kicks off Side B is vital for holding the whole experience together in my mind, switching up their sound, showing another side of the vocals, and keeping it psychedelic helps to ease up on the misery that can come from shout-heavy sludge/doom metal hybrids on the gritter spectrum. As it turns out each half of the experience meditates upon separate theme with Side A acknowledging the Sun as a creator-destructor, and Side B seeking to hammer the skulls of the “ruling class”, spitting in the face of the ruthless dominance of the wealthiest, most manipulative scum of the Earth. Heavy and passionate stuff worth checking out.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.

RELEASE DATE:March 5th, 2021
LABEL(S):Stageblast Records
BUY:Dauthuz’ Webshop

This week we are assuming wrong and rightfully having our cheeks boxed for it. In the case of North Holland death metal crew Dauthuz their ‘old school’ death metal tag and thunder-stricken production values had me itching to turn ‘Cold’ off for a few introductory moments. The slickened HM-2 adjacent guitar sound and crawling semi-melodic movements should instead lead our minds into the realm of bands like Bodyfarm, Deserted Fear and as the album progresses maybe even some prime God Dethroned and Evocation. Most of the real grinders are set up front and this gives the impression that Dauthuz are wall of noise groove bastard kinda stuff until their riffcraft begins to inch toward increasingly melodic statements and slower, doomed spells. The title track gives a clearest hint of this and I’d say things really started to catch my ear beyond that point. “Gore” and “Termination” are the strength of the full listen and the biggest moments I’d look forward to as I spun through it a handful of times. The late 90’s Necrophobic-esque lead and same era Fleshcrawl riffing driving “Termination” implanted itself in my brain for days beyond the first encounter, an effective yet simple catchy moment. It isn’t entirely what I’d expected from members of Nembrionic, Consolation and Funeral Whore in terms of a very polished result that leans into its mid-paced/melodic side but ‘Cold’ is a strong second record, and a great first impression on my part, nonetheless.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

TITLE:The Grotesque Arena
RELEASE DATE:March 19th, 2021
LABEL(S):Brilliant Emperor Records

Is that a butthole or many buttholes? Yes, the folks who brought us the hash tarred walls of Resin Tomb and the uh, immovable Pokémon black/death destructor Snorlax now reveal… Shit. Actually, ‘The Grotesque Arena’ is excellent stuff as is the greater body of work from these Brisbane-area fellows who also name-drop Shackles, Idle Ruin and such within their resumes. By my best estimate I’d say Auld is a major driver for the guitar work here based on plenty of time with ‘II’ via lots of dissonant ringing drop-offs, mid-paced stomps and some slower death/doom moments that seem to aim for something modern yet Incantation-esque in movement. I found the compositions fairly basic, well arranged but lacking in some lead work that’d set it over the top. This’d leant all the power of ‘The Grotesque Arena’ to its drumming (which is fantastic) and vocals (which are just alright). For a first release this EP is polished, buttoned up, and solid from start to finish… Just uh, why the shit theme?

Rating: 6.5 out of 10.

TITLE:Anti Kult
RELEASE DATE:March 19th, 2021
LABEL(S):Sounds of Hell Records
BUY/LISTEN:Band Website

Demenzia Mortis are a blasphemous blackened death metal quartet out of the Wallonia region of Belgium who are in keeping with the ruthless, martial cult of black/death metal popularized in the late 90’s/early 2000’s between Swedish, Polish and elsewhere movements. If you are familiar with Thunderbolt‘s ‘Apocalyptic Doom’ album the full range of that album minus some of the precision double-bass drumming is largely reflected on ‘Anti Kult’ between sprawling black metal movements and some ‘Satanica’ inspired death metal focus. They’re exactly as brutal and straight forward as that should suggest yet there is enough Marduk in their blood that some melodic movements keep things interesting. Their best release to date and well worth checking out if you like this style of death metal.

Rating: 6.5 out of 10.

TITLE:In Worship Our Blood is Buried
RELEASE DATE:March 19st, 2021
LABEL(S):Werewolf Records

When I’d first previewed this album the introductory piece I’d touched upon was actually a bonus track, “I Am The Storm”, and I suppose once you’ve heard the full album you’ll understand why it wasn’t the most representative moment on the full listen. If they did make an album full of skull-shocking EDM oontz-oontz black metal I’d be into it, and I believe both V-Khaoz and Hellwind have some of that floating around in their prolific bodies of work. Anyhow, ‘In Worship Our Blood is Buried’ is an atmospheric black metal/dark ambient collaboration that showcases V-Khaoz‘ (Vargrav, Druadan Forest) knack for world-building via ambiance and kosmische black metal alongside Hellwind‘s (Sargeist, Desolate Shrine) impassioned and throat-splitting vocal work. The longest pieces of the lot cultivate a mixture of magic and insanity, a tormented sort of cosmic sorcery that proved itself taxing for how engaging the full listen can be. I probably need a bit more time with it but I wanted to make sure it’d gotten mention prior to release.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.

TITLE:Encircling Darkness 7″
RELEASE DATE:March 15th, 2021
LABEL(S):Me Saco Un Ojo

As far as I know Sulphurous were originally formed back in the 2000’s as one of the earlier projects from now prolific Copenhagen death metal fiend M. Friborg (Had, Ascendency, Hyperdontia, Taphos) alongside various line-ups until he’d begin collaborating with drummer T. who also features in Hyperdontia and Phrenelith, starting around 2016. This realm of Danish death metal bears its own dark atmospheric side unlike anything else, certainly not blackened or ‘caverncore’ but an old school ritualistic feeling that is pretty neatly showcased here on this seven minute two song 7″ record. It is probably an item largely reserved for existing fans and folks who’d loved ‘Dolorous Death Knell’ back in 2018. I love this stuff though I would rather a 20+ minute run for an EP as these two pieces feel like the middle section of a larger record without context.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

  • MAJESTIC MASS – Onwards [March 16th, Helter Skelter/Regain Records]
  • SULPHUROUS – Encircling Darkness [March 15th, Me Saco Un Ojo]
  • ADAMANTIS – Far Flung Realm [March 19th, Cruz Del Sur Music]
  • TAAKE / HELHEIM – Henholdsvis [March 19th, Dark Essence Records]
  • CROOKED MOUTH & HEADSTONE BRIGADE – Crooked Headstone [March 19th, I, Voidhanger Records]
  • BATHORY LEGION / HERMANN KOPP – Das Unheimliche [March 20th, Septenary Arts]
  • FECULENT – The Grotesque Arena [March 19th, Brilliant Emperor Records]
  • HERZEL – Le Dernier Rempart [March 19th, Gates of Hell Records]
  • LUNAR SHADOW – Wish to Leave [March 29th, Cruz Del Sur Music]
  • TURRIS EBURNEA – Turris Eburnea [March 15th, Everlasting Spew Records]
  • OLDE – Pilgrimage [March 19th, Seeing Red Records/Sludgelord Records]
  • MIDNIGHT ODYSSEY – Biolume Part II: The Golden Orb [March 19th, I, Voidhanger Records]
  • SARKRISTA – Sworn to Profound Heresy [March 21st, Purity Through Fire]
  • MARE COGNITUM – Solar Paroxysm [March 19th, I, Voidhanger/Extraconscious Records]
  • ILDARUNI – Beyond Unseen Gateways [March 19th, Black Lion Records]
  • EMBRYONIC SLUMBER – In Worship Our Blood is Buried [March 19th, Werewolf Records]
  • KANKAR – Dunkle Millennia [March 19th, Eisenwald]
  • AMAMMOTH – The Fire Above [March 19th, Electric Valley Records]
  • GRIEF COLLECTOR – En Delirium [May 14th, Petrichor]
  • VARANAK – Relics of Mourning [March 19th, Brucia Records]
  • DEAD SUN – Night Terrors [March 16th, Xtreem Music]
  • DEMENZIA MORTIS – Anti Kult [March 19th, Sounds of Hell Records]

If I missed your favorite album from 2020, whoa too late! If you’ve got 2021 digs to whip out E-mail me or hit me up on Instagram if you want me to review it, I’ll consider it.

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